Radwanska Wraps Up Round Robin
DOHA, Qatar - The round robin came to a close and the semifinals were set at the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008 on Friday, leaving the world's No.1 player and three lower seeds as the four players remaining at the prestigious season-ender.
As of the end of Thursday, Jelena Jankovic, Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva were all guaranteed spots in the semifinals, with the winner of Friday's match-up between Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva to join them. But before Friday's matches began the line-up was determined, as Williams withdrew prior to that match due to an abdominal injury. Thus No.5 seed Dementieva was propelled into the semis, regardless of how she fared against alternate Nadia Petrova (she beat her anyway, 64 46 64).
In other matches on Friday, No.8 seed Zvonareva beat No.1 seed Jankovic, 26 63 64, and alternate Agnieszka Radwanska, who took the court after No.4 seed Ana Ivanovic withdrew due to illness, beat No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 62 75.
So, although the final four was determined before matches even took the court on Friday, the Top 2 standings in each group were solidified. Venus Williams leads the Maroon Group with Dementieva placing second; and Zvonareva leads the White Group with Jankovic placing second. Thus, in Saturday's semifinals, Venus Williams will play Jankovic and Dementieva will play Zvonareva.
Jankovic has been one of Williams' biggest nemeses, winning five of their last six meetings (although she only leads the head-to-head by 5-3, having lost their first two encounters). Outdoor hardcourts have favored Williams against her in the past, however, as she is 2-0 in these conditions (winning 63 63 at the summer hardcourt stop in Stanford in 2005 and in a memorable third set tie-breaker at the US Open last year). But the tightness of this rivalry is exemplified by all of their meetings apart from that Stanford contest going to three sets.
Dementieva is 4-1 lifetime against Zvonareva, although all of their matches have been close as well, with three of those matches going to three sets and the other two being tight two-setters. They've met three times this year, with Zvonareva prevailing in the semifinals of Charleston but Dementieva gaining revenge in the fourth round of Roland Garros and in the semifinals of the Olympics.
The doubles semifinals are also up on Saturday, with top seeds and defending champions Cara Black and Liezel Huber beginning against No.4 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, and No.2 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama taking on No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs.